As I was spooning coffee granules in to Addison’s bottle and formula in to my coffee mug this morning, it dawned on me just how mentally and physically drained I am feeling.
I glanced up at the calendar on the wall to see a beautiful photograph taken this time last year of a tiny little Woo lying in his pram wearing a pair of shades and clutching a teething toy for dear life. I remember that day as clear as if it was only yesterday, we had barely slept and with The Irish One just about to return to work I had decided, after another full night of no sleep to try and shed some of the much unwanted baby weight and take little baby Addison for a walk in his pram. The sun was shining, my stitches were a itching and I pulled on my pre pregnancy jeans full of hope.
We are going out today little one! Just you and mammy!
After 17 outfit changes, one strop from me, a minor strop from Addison and a bit of excitement off Doodle we finally managed to leave the house. We were like the three amigos, one with a full nappy, one covered in baby sick and one walking on all fours. (I could be either of those last two.)
We walked to MacDonald’s (the Holy Grail), where I bought a coffee, let Woo have a daydream and Doodle a bit of a sniff and a roam around a discarded burger. I hung around outside wondering what to do next not accustomed to having all this time to do nothing (and everything) by myself and slowly began my new commute home.
Not being in work was unsettling. Watching cars drive past, full of people with places to go and people to see, I looked down at my sleeping new-born and down to my happy poodle and thought there must be something wrong with me. I should be enjoying this time off shouldn’t I? Why do I feel so lost? Why do I feel like something is missing? My son is beautiful, the days are our own and life has slowed down (and sped up) at a new pace.
I will get used to it, I thought to myself pulling my jumper down over my empty bump ashamedly and shuffling back up across the road.
This time next year, I will be slim again; I will have had a full night’s sleep and Addison will be able to toddle along with me. This time next year, I thought to myself, all this learning and adjusting will be over and I will be settled in to the mammy role properly. This time next year, I will be just getting back to work and Addison will be making friends at nursery. This time next year will be perfect and all these worries I have now I will be able to look back on and laugh.
We continued on home with the thoughts of an afternoon of sterilizing on my mind. We were just reaching the last bend and I was breathing like an elephant from all the exertion when Addison coughed up half his previous bottle and nearly choked. My rush to get him unwrapped and upright, caused me to fumble with the brake on the pram, drop the dogs lead and spill a half empty cup of steaming hot coffee, all over my hands, down my front and on to my exposed flip flopped toes. Racing for the lead, holding the tiny baby and trying not to cry, I thought to myself, this time next year this will all be a distant memory.
This time next year is my light at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward back to this morning and here I am spooning Starbucks instant Via, full powered coffee in to my sons breakfast bottle. Yes I have learnt a hell of a lot this year, I think to myself turning around and walking full on, in to an open cupboard door and nearly knocking myself out. I have learnt a hell of a lot.
The first thing being that maybe the fuses have blown in the tunnel.
- I have learnt to never EVER take for granted anesthetic. (Stitching round two? Sans numbness? Not so fun!)
- I have learnt to never underestimate the power of hormones (especially in relation to objects not nailed down.)
- I have learnt that not eating, means zero energy and minimal weight loss (and a pan au chocolate binge at the end of the day.)
- I have learnt to beat myself up over the smallest failings.
- I have learnt to beat myself up, over beating myself up over the smallest failings.
- I have learnt that blue carpet will not hide white baby sick, no matter how hard I scuff it with my toe, as the doorbell rings.
- I have learnt to do what my gut tells me and only take advice if I absolutely believe in the advice myself. (Nothing wrong with him you say, give him proper milk, you say?)
- I have learnt I am not the perfect mother as she doesn’t exist.
- I have learnt to not pick arguments, but save myself for the hum-dingers.
- I have learnt having a baby is a massive strain on your relationship but you can get through it. Together. (But keep a spade on hand, just in case.)
- I have learnt the words to every single Bear in the big blue house episode, and now, most of Toy story 1 and 2 too.
- I have learnt that it is ok to cry. Just try not to do it at the supermarket quite so much. (Now I know why the check-out girls see me coming and grimace.)
- I have learnt to trust in myself, in those I care for and ignore those who‘s only purpose is to criticize, condemn and complain.
- I have learnt that no matter how much I screw my eyes closed and pray, morning still comes 20 minutes after I have shut my eyes. And then every half an hour on the hour until 6am.
- I have learnt that making a rod for your own back, is hard, but well worth it for those special moments I have enjoyed cozying up with my favourite boy.
- I have learnt patience. (Slowly.) And
- I have learnt, that no matter what, I am always right. (Ahem.)
This time last year I was waiting for the light to be switched on at the end of the tunnel, and in many ways I am still waiting now.
But one thing is for sure. I am a different person this year to who I was last year. Yes, I am still a bumbling, grumbling, dizzy, overweight, unfit and struggling mother who is still trying to learn to function on minimal sleep and maximum hormonal imbalance but I am also beginning to understand, this time next year is a whole year away. Why not try to relish the here and now a little more? Why not try to accept present circumstances, a little more.
It is as I go to put the murky brown bottle to my sons mouth, and take a sip of piss yellow soya tea, that I laugh out loud and look down to see my little boy looking up at me, his eyes too, shining with laughter.
‘Mammy,’ he seems to say ‘you are a goose, and you will still be a goose this time next year! Now go make me another bottle…’
And off I trot, but not before kicking the dog’s water bowl in to the door and drenching the car seat waiting in the hall.
This time next year I will be asleep, I think to myself hopefully, right before slipping arse over tit on the water, and nearly braining myself on the radiator.
This time next year I will be asleep.